Layoffs at Foyles as Buying Centralized at Waterstones

From Shelf Awareness:

Similar to the layoffs of longtime buyers at Barnes & Noble last month, Foyles–the small British chain also owned by Elliott Management and run by Waterstones managing director/B&N CEO James Daunt–has let go several buyers, as well as a group store manager, according to the Bookseller. The moves follow the layoffs at Foyles of three category buyer roles last October, when the company said that Foyles’ buying would be integrated with and centralized at Waterstones with “a bespoke layer of ordering placed on top of this by the Foyles team.”

Among those let go from Foyles last week was Jasper Sutcliffe, head of buying and an employee for more than 20 years; Abel Dos Santos, gifts and stationery buyer; and area manager Patrizia Sorrentino, responsible for all Foyles shops except the Charing Cross Road flagship location.

Waterstones confirmed that “a small number of roles” had been eliminated, adding, “This was not an easy decision and we would like to thank all those affected for all their hard work. Foyles will retain its unique identity in the same way Hatchards and Hodges Figgis [other bookshops acquired by Waterstones] have retained theirs, through good bookselling and catering to each shop’s customer base. 

. . . .

Less than a month ago, Barnes & Noble instituted a range of permanent layoffs, including such longtime employees as literary fiction buyer Sessalee Hensley, who had been with B&N about 35 years; SF/fantasy and graphics novel buyer James Killen, who had been with B&N 41 years; buyer David Garber, a 25-year veteran; and Lisa Echenthal, a 28-year veteran.

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

PG says it appears that loyalty doesn’t pay in an organization managed by James Daunt. He has no idea where a book buyer with a 25-40 year career with Barnes & Noble goes to find work.

Sounds like sticking with a bookstore through thick and thin may not be a very good career strategy in the 21st century.

PG wouldn’t be surprised if flocks of résumés were observed flying out of Barnes & Noble, Waterstons and Folyes at a high rate of speed. If he is correct, PG will note that, under such circumstances, employees who are talented and who an employer may be desiring to keep are often among the first to locate new jobs elsewhere. Many of those who remain may fall into the category of being someone no one else wants to hire.

There’s a tried and tested maxim that the best time to find a new job is before you need one.

2 thoughts on “Layoffs at Foyles as Buying Centralized at Waterstones”

  1. As I understand it, Daunt wants to decentralize ordering. Booksellers in individual stores will be able to order what they want and think will sell, rather than getting books shoved down their throats from corporate headquarters. It IS too bad that loyalty doesn’t count for something, but I get the reasoning behind the moves.

    • That might be a good idea if the senior booksellers in individual stores haven’t been fired for cost reasons as well.

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